By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you or someone in your family gets hurt or sick and needs attention immediately – you’ll soon have another choice in West Seattle.
Highline Medical Center Urgent Care debuts in October. For now, it’s in the same location where Highline (a WSB sponsor) has its Family Medicine Clinic – across from the east side of Jefferson Square – but they’re also finally going public with the news that next year, they’ll move into their own building in The Triangle.
We talked about the future – immediate, and next year – with Marty Couret, ARNP, who is the medical director of Highline Medical Center’s West Seattle clinic. He says it all started when they “polled the community,” and both urgent care and extended hours were among the requests. So their hours will extend to 7 am-9 pm Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm Saturday and Sunday. If you walk in at 8:59 pm, Couret promises, you will be seen. Sunday is an entirely new day for their West Seattle operation.
They’ve hired four new people with urgent-care experience. This is not an emergency room, he notes – “If you need surgery, we can’t do major surgery. But a cut, an open wound, a non-displaced fracture, sprains and strains of course … (For example), if a bladder infection starts at 3 am, you’re going to want to be seen by 7. These are things we are going to make possible.”
The primary-care service will remain; this is an expansion of service, not a replacement. Couret says one person will be dedicated to urgent care over the span of their opening hours, “and as it grows, I wouldn’t be surprised if we add another person or two.”
Couret says it’s a realization that health care is a business as well as a service, and that customers’ needs must be heeded. “We are really trying to come around to the fact that this is a consumer-driven product, so we need to be doing what the consumer wants, not (be) open 9 to 5 and take a two-hour lunch and tell you you can get in during the next 2 weeks. That doesn’t fit (patients’ needs).”
So on October 3rd, they will officially launch Highline Medical Center Urgent Care in West Seattle. Same place they are now, and regular care services will continue – 4744 41st SW. Preparations are going fast and furious, including work to get some blood-analysis equipment so they can do immediate blood testing. The equipment they already have includes X-rays, which is perfect for urgent care, so practitioners can tell if you really did break a bone, for example. And the health-care providers who will be working in urgent care had to go through the procedures to be credentialed for Highline’s hospital too – that was recently completed, Couret says. Their urgent-care services also will include being able to evaluate people injured on the job, to open a claim for potential state L&I coverage – though he’s quick to say, that’ll be for people in this general area, not for people to come to this clinic from a long distance.
It’s not an emergency room or hospital, but it does improve access, and that, Couret emphasizes, is the goal.
Toward that end, they will have even more room to grow in the new location they plan to move into next year. It’s the former Huling Auto site that is bounded by SW Alaska, Fauntleroy Way, and 38th SW, where Cycle University is located now. (We talked to Cycle U last week, and they say they’re definitely staying in West Seattle – they haven’t settled on a new location just yet.) The building has a basement level as well as the street level; upstairs will be primary care, downstairs urgent care, according to Couret. The move isn’t expected till fall of next year, and he says with optimism, “We hope within a year of moving into the new place, we’ll need [to add] a whole new group of urgent-care staff!”
Besides more room, they also hope the new location next year will give them even more visibility – while the 41st SW site is convenient, it doesn’t face a busy street, so unless you’ve been there, you might not even know they’re there. Something else to know, especially once they launch Urgent Care this October – there’s free parking beneath that building, as well as the parking along 41st.
But in the end, it’s about the people – the patients and the practitioners. “The thing I really like about our practice is that we’re real people and we like interacting with our patients. It’s a social visit as well as a medical visit. That’s a comment I get a lot.”